Recent national patterns of warfarin use in atrial fibrillation CIRCULATION Stafford, R. S., Singer, D. E. 1998; 97 (13): 1231-1233


Studies of selected populations suggest that anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation is underused and that nonclinical factors influence the use of this stroke-preventing therapy. We wished to examine recent national trends and predictors of warfarin sodium use in atrial fibrillation.A nationally representative sample of office visits from the 1989 to 1996 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys was used. We selected 1125 visits by patients with atrial fibrillation, including 877 visits to cardiologists and primary care physicians in which apparent contraindications for anticoagulation were absent. The principal outcome measure was the proportion of visits with warfarin reported. We analyzed trends in warfarin use and statistically evaluated the predictors of warfarin use. Warfarin use increased from 13% of atrial fibrillation visits in 1989 to 40% in 1993 (P for trend <.001) in patients without contraindications. Between 1993 and 1996, however, there was no change in warfarin use. Independent of other factors, warfarin was significantly more likely to be reported in patients with a history of stroke and in patients residing outside of the South.Warfarin use in atrial fibrillation has not increased recently, indicating inadequate implementation of this highly effective therapy. Barriers to anticoagulation in real-world clinical practice need to be identified and addressed.

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View details for PubMedID 9570191